WC 2003 - What now Warnie? going at $ 42 per head
Published: Friday, March 14, 2003, 21:51 [IST]
Copyright AFP 2001
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Johannesburg: Disgraced Australian cricket legend Shane Warne is set to return to South Africa just after the World Cup final for a series of lucrative speaking engagements.Warne, who was suspended from all cricket for twelve months after failing a drugs test for a banned diuretic, has been signed up to speak at functions in Durban on March 26 and in Johannesburg on March 28."Although Shane has been banned from the game, the dates were fixed before that time and I have no problems with him coming here," Ross Fraser, the head of organising body CorporateSport, told on Friday.Warne left South Africa for home on February 11, the day of Australia's opening World Cup match against Pakistan at the Wanderers, when news of his positive test broke."He will be involved in three functions - the two in Durban and Johannesburg as well as a golf day which has yet to be finalised," added Fraser."Originally, he was going to stay on after the tournament, but of course those plans changed. He will probably now come on the Monday after the final as he has no desire to interfere with the Australian team."Tickets for the two morning functions, entitled the 'What Now Warnie?' breakfasts, cost 342 Rand ($ 42)."I think Shane has been very brave in agreeing to talk about what has happened," said Fraser."He could easily have decided to hide away but there will be a question and answer session where people can ask him about what has gone on."The 33-year-old Warne returned the positive test on January 22, which forced him home from what would have been his last World Cup.After earlier denials that he had taken more than one diuretic pill, Warne eventually admitted that he had first taken the banned diuretic on December 12 - to get rid of an alcohol-induced double chin.Warne also said that he took a diuretic given to him by his mother to look good for a press conference to announce his retirement from international One-day cricket.He also admitted to being silly for not checking what tablets he was taking, and said he should have listened more to Australian Sports Drug Agency (ASDA) briefings on banned substances.Warne estimated the ban from all cricket could cost him around three million Australian dollars ($ 1.8 million).The Australian star has enjoyed a hugely successful career with 491 Test wickets helping him to be named as one of Wisden's top five cricketers of all time.